THQ has announced that it has appointed Jason Rubin as President, effective immediately. Mr. Rubin, who brings to THQ 20 years of successful experience in the video game and digital sectors, will be responsible for all of THQ’s worldwide product development, marketing, and publishing operations, and will report to Brian Farrell, THQ Chairman and CEO. If you know anything about Jason Rubin, you know that he is immensely talented guy, if anyone could save THQ it would be him. The trouble is that I’m not sure this is a great fit for him and this will turn out only one of two ways. Either he becomes the greatest thing to ever happen to THQ and its games or he doesn’t last 24 months there. From what I hear, Rubin is the kind of guy that likes to shake things up and I’m not sure from a corporate culture standpoint THQ is ready for that. For fans I would prepare to have at least a few of their favorite franchises axed and perhaps a few long dormant franchises make a return. Ultimately though I think that either they need to get behind his vision or risk becoming obsolete and being scooped up by some bigger company. Either way this will be interesting to watch.
Mr. Rubin is acknowledged as one of the leading business and creative forces in the video game industry. He co-founded Naughty Dog, one of the industry’s most successful and critically acclaimed game developers. While at Naughty Dog, Mr. Rubin served as the co-creator and game director of the “Crash Bandicoot” PlayStation and “Jak and Daxter” PlayStation 2 series of games, which combined have sold over 40 million copies worldwide. In 2001, Sony Computer Entertainment America acquired Naughty Dog, and Mr. Rubin led the Naughty Dog team until 2004. Mr. Rubin also co-founded Flektor, a media mashup tool, which was acquired in 2007 by Fox Interactive Media, a division of Newscorp.
Rubin’s appointment comes as THQ realigns its focus from a maker of licensed games for broad audiences to a developer of AAA “Core” games for multiple platforms. For Fiscal 2013, the company’s line-up includes wholly-owned IP from Vigil Games (Darksiders II), Volition, Inc. (Saint’s Row: The Third – Enter the Dominatrix), Relic Entertainment (Company of Heroes 2) as well as Metro: Last Light, South Park: The Game and WWE ‘13. The company also has appointed Jason Kay as its Chief Strategy Officer. Mr. Kay, who will report to Mr. Rubin, co-founded Flektor with Mr. Rubin and has served as an executive and advisor to companies such as Activision, Columbia House and Home Box Office during his more than seventeen years in the media and technology business.
THQ also announced that Danny Bilson, EVP Core Games, is leaving to pursue other interests. “Danny has made significant contributions to THQ, and we thank him for his efforts,” said Mr. Farrell. In addition, the company announced that Dave Davis, SVP Core Studios, will be leaving. “Along with Danny, Dave has been instrumental in getting our strong pipeline into production,” Mr. Farrell continued.